NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has set a January 2017 trial date for the Justice Department's criminal case against several companies and workers involved in a deadly 2012 explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
A court filing Thursday says the jury trial in New Orleans is scheduled to start Jan. 17, 2017, and last approximately four weeks.
In November, a grand jury indicted Houston-based Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC and one of its contractors, Grand Isle Shipyards Inc., on involuntary manslaughter charges.
Another contractor, Wood Group PSN Inc., and three men who worked on the Black Elk Energy-owned platform also were indicted on charges they violated the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Clean Water Act.
The November 2012 platform explosion killed three workers: Ellroy Corporal, Jerome Malagapo and Avelino Tajonera.
The workers charged in the indictment are Don Moss, 46, of Groves, Texas; Curtis Dantin, 50, of Cut Off, Louisiana; and Christopher Srubar, 40, of Destrehan, Louisiana.
A 2013 report by federal regulators identified a string of safety lapses that led to the blast.
Black Elk Energy's platform was located about 17 miles from Grand Isle, Louisiana, in about 52 feet of water. It had been "shut in" for several weeks and wasn't producing oil at the time of the explosion, but workers were on the platform preparing to resume production.
On the morning of Nov. 16, 2012, a worker ignited oil vapors while welding pipe, triggering a chain reaction that caused oil tanks to explode.
Black Elk is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
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Posted on Tue, January 19, 2016
by Associated Press